New Law Requires Schools to Put Suicide Prevention Helplines on Student IDs

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ROSEVILLE -- Whether she’s buying lunch or checking out a library book, middle schooler Navaeh Chargualaf always has her student ID card.

And now, on the back of that card, she’ll have resources for suicide prevention.

“I think it’s such a big issue right now that we don’t address,” said parent Daniell Andrade. “There’s a stigma around mental health and we need to address it. I think that’s a wonderful thing.”

A new California state law requires all schools with grades seven to 12 to post numbers for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and the Crisis Text Line on the back of student ID cards.

“This is brand new for us this year, for our middle school students,” said Dry Creek Joint Elementary School District Director of Students Services Jenn Lewandowski.

Lewandowski said it is needed now more than ever.

“Help students understand the difficult time they’re in,” she explained. “Trying to help them understand increased anxiety and depression that students are struggling with now.”

Suicide rates among young people have reached a record high, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. For people ages 10 to 19, the rate of suicide jumped 56% between 2007 and 2016.

That’s why school districts say they have to do more.

“Assist students with school-based counseling and helping families connect to community resources,” Lewandowski told FOX40.

Some parents have expressed concerns that talking too much about suicide could give kids ideas.

“Because there is a risk in contagion that the data has shown,” Lewandowski said.

But Lewandowski does not believe providing resources like the helplines will have a negative impact.

“I think that these are issues children are going to have regardless,” said mother Ashley Young. “They’re not going to look at a number and think, ‘Man, I want to hurt myself.’ I think that this is going to be something they look at when they need help and, hopefully, will reach out and get the help that they need.”

The law impacts all middle and high schools across the state, including public, private and charter.

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